This Cool Chart Shows How Your Take Home Pay Compares to Workers Around the World


There's nothing like the deflated feeling that comes from realizing just how many taxes are taken out of your paychecks. But, hey, giving The Man a substantial cut of your earnings is just one of the many harsh realities of adulthood. And what you have to pony up here in the 'States probably isn't all that much compared to what workers in other countries have to pay.

Or is it? 

If you're curious how much less (or more) money you'd have after taxes if you lived elsewhere, a nifty new graph reveals just how take-home pay compares for workers in 35 different countries around the world. Spoiler alert: if you've never wished you lived in Switzerland before, you will now.

The visualization, which was created using data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development by the folks at the personal finance site HowMuch, seems a bit overwhelmingly complex at first glance, but it's actually simple to navigate. Each slice of the graph represents the average gross wage earnings for a different country and how much of those earnings are taxed. Specifically, it divides the taxes into income tax and social security contributions, depending on what the rates are in that given country. The remaining green portion shows the net wage earnings after taxes, or in other words, the take home pay. 

It's worth noting that the gross wages shown represent the average in that particular country, rather than a random universal gross income level for each. That way it provides a more accurate portrait of how salaries compare around the world, which helps also give a bit of insight into how different the cost of living is in different places. So, just to clarify, the countries are organized in the chart from those with highest average gross income (Switzerland), to the lowest (Mexico).

So where can you expect to walk away with the most take home pay? According to HowMuch's findings, workers in Switzerland have the highest net wages (a.k.a. post-tax income), followed by Luxembourg, and then Iceland. These are the 10 countries with the highest take home pay after paying taxes.

10. United States -- $39,211 after paying 26% in taxes
9. Norway -- $40,834 after paying 27.6% in taxes
8. Japan -- $41,139 after paying 22.3% in taxes
7. United Kingdom -- $41,608 after paying 23.4% in taxes
6. Australia -- $41,655 after paying 24.4% in taxes
5. Netherlands -- $43,835 after paying 30.4% in taxes
4. South Korea -- $44,835 after paying 14.5% in taxes
3. Iceland -- $45,390 after paying 28.7% in taxes
2. Luxembourg -- $46,593 after paying 29.1% in taxes
1. Switzerland -- $58,864 after paying 16.9% in taxes

Another interesting takeaway from this is that the average gross earnings across the entire set of 35 countries represented in the OECD data set is just $43,792, and the average take-home pay is just $32,624. That means that Americans are just barely above average in terms of earnings (not to mention, far from the highest-taxerd, despite what certain politicians may claim).

Also, a number of the countries with the highest take-home pay after taxes happen to also be among the happiest in the world, which adds yet another compelling layer to all of it. 

In any case, it sure sounds like it wouldn't suck to work in Switzerland.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.